I stopped buying fRoots magazine some time ago, but I glanced through a copy that I found in my newsagents's last week and was surprised to see the subject of the editor's comment. Unless I dreamed the whole experience, he was extolling the virtues of small venues, which would seem, by definition, to include folk clubs.
Why I was surprised is that, reading this magazine, you could very easily get the impression that the UK folk scene either does not exist, or that the editor hates it with such a passion that he deliberately ignores it. (Apart from the Magpie's Nest, which isn't really a folk club!)
The magazine's focus seems to be split between African music (nothing wrong with that- it's good that it gets this kind of exposure, though there is also some great indigenous music from other countries, such as my homeland, Australia, for example) and the latest cute young Radio 2 Folk Award winners. Nothing wrong with that either, though some of them are vastly overrated in my humble opinion.
But... there is a lot of exciting music happening in folk clubs, with some unknown young bands who can knock spots off many of the award winners. fRoots must have a good circulation, as it is a lavishly- presented magazine that is available nationwide (and internationally for all I know.) To finance it, there must be a fair number of people who have enough enthusiasm for this music. Wouldn't it be nice if the magazine visited the folk roots of its home country as well?
I can't help thinking that if we had a good national folk magazine the club scene would be a lot healthier and less fragmented. If, for example, performances by new artists were sometimes reviewed, so that the said artists could benefit from wider exposure, wouldn't that be a good thing? There are quite a few young performers trying to break into the scene at the moment- how nice it would be if they could be more publicised; it might even draw a new generation of listeners into the scene.
BTW, I'm not grinding my own axe- I've retired from the circuit for now owing to pressures of work. But there are some astoundingly good new performers around, and it's a pity that the one national magazine in the UK chooses to ignore them.